Tuesday, November 18, 2014

PICTURE BOOK MONTH: Sam & Dav Dig a Hole/The Cat, the Dog, Little Red, The Exploding Eggs, The Wolf and Grandma


With perfect pacing, the multi-award-winning, New York Times best-selling team of Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen dig down for a deadpan tale full of visual humor.

Sam and Dave are on a mission. A mission to find something spectacular. So they dig a hole. And they keep digging. And they find . . . nothing. Yet the day turns out to be pretty spectacular after all. Attentive readers will be rewarded with a rare treasure in this witty story of looking for the extraordinary — and finding it in a manner you’d never expect.


One thing you can always trust in a Mac Barnett book is the unexpected.  When Sam and Dave set out to dig a hole seeking something spectacular they come close to discovering something fantastic.  Jon Klassen really adds a lot to the story here showing just how many times Sam and Dave barely miss what they seem to be seeking.  The combination here between the understated text and the illustrations works perfectly, demonstrating just what makes picture books so great.  And just like all the other Barnett books this one has a strange twist at the end that should make for some interesting discussions with young readers. When sharing this one it would be interesting to ask young readers their ideas on exactly what they think happened at the end and if they notice the clues. The open ending leaves the reader free to use his/her imagination to explain what happened. A winner of a book from two heavyweights in the children's literature arena.


A comical twist on "Little Red Riding Hood" told by Cat and Dog!

Cat starts reading "Little Red Riding Hood" and explains, "It's a story about a little girl who always wears a red cape with a hood."

Dog says, "COOL! I love stories about superheroes. What's her special power?"

Cat says, "She doesn't have any special powers. It's not that kind of a story."

And then the fun ensues!

The zany, fun back-and-forth of Dog and Cat celebrates the joy of reading -- and questioning. Young children will cheer Dog's persistent questions as well as Cat's dedication to keep telling the story.


I am a fan of these kind of interrupted narration type stories, especially when they are funny, which this one is.  Cat is trying to tell Dog the Red Riding Hood story, but Dog keeps interrupting with his ideas and questions about how the story should be and what should happen.  Cat gets really frustrated.  Frankly, the book reminds me of some of the children I've read books to through the years.  Some children listen really well and laugh at the right moments, other children have something to say about everything that happens, which is okay to a point, but can get frustrating at times.  But at the same time, when children are making comments, it tells me that they are getting into the story and as a teacher librarian that is what I want.  But Cat finally reaches the breaking point and lets Dog have it (not that I recommend this sort of behavior ;)). While the back and forth between Cat and Dog makes up the majority of the story, the message about just how strange fairy tales can be was enjoyable as well.  I also think this book would be great to use when talking to children about how stories can be adapted by changing elements of character, setting, or action.  A fun book all the way around.

Picture Book Month

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